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Annual Distributor Survey: Share Seeing Better Biz Grows for 2nd Straight Year (Part 2)

Average new self-service laundry, 2019: 1.9 top loaders, 30.3 front loaders, 34.4 dryer pockets, 2,990 square feet

CHICAGO — For the second consecutive year, the share of distributors reporting their business had improved year-to-year was larger than the prior year, according to the results of American Coin-Op’s annual Distributors Survey.

As for how distributors expect their 2020 overall sales will compare to those of 2019, there is almost an identical three-way split between those thinking it will be better, the same, or worse.

Nearly 68% of distributors polled say that their total business—including sales of newly constructed vended laundries and replacement business—was better in 2019 compared to 2018.

Approximately 13% of respondents say their 2019 business was worse than 2018’s, while 19.4% say that business stayed the same compared to the prior year.

But now operating in a COVID-19 environment with the world awaiting an end to the virus pandemic, just 32.3% believe their company’s 2020 overall sales will be better than 2019’s.

Distributors listed in the previous edition of the American Coin-Op Distributors Directory were invited to participate in this year’s unscientific survey, which charts 2019 business and makes comparisons to previous years. In this three-part summary report, percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding.

EQUIPMENT MIX

Wonder what equipment that distributors are installing in new stores across the country? Here’s a quick analysis on trends, based on this year’s survey results.

One-third (33.3%) of new stores in 2019 had at least one top loader, according to the survey results. Past survey percentages were 41% in 2018, 33% in 2017, 46% in 2016, 41% in 2015, 60% in 2014, 63% in 2013, 45% in 2012, and 58% in 2011.

Self-service laundries newly built in 2019 have an average of 1.9 top loaders, compared to averages of 3.1 per new store in 2018, 2.5 in 2017, 3.2 in 2016, 2.8 in 2015, 4.6 in 2014 and 4.5 in 2013. (These figures factor in new stores with no top loaders.)

Breaking it down, following are the most popular number of top loaders installed in new stores in 2019:

1) 0

2) 6

3) 4

When it comes to front loaders, vended laundries that were newly constructed in 2019 have an average of 30.3 front loaders. This compares to averages of 26.5 in 2018, 28.6 in 2017, 33.3 in 2016, 28.5 in 2015, 27.5 in 2014 and 26.6 in 2013.

The most common number of front loaders installed in newly constructed laundries in 2019 was:

1) 40

2) 35 and 50 (tie)

4) 12 and 22 (tie)

Vended laundries that were newly constructed in 2019 have an average of 34.4 dryer pockets. This compares to an average of 27.8 dryer pockets in 2018, 33.4 in 2017, 39.1 in 2016, 31.7 in 2015, 32.4 in 2014, 32.8 in 2013 and 30.8 in 2012.

Following are the most common number of dryer pockets installed in newly built laundries in 2019:

1) 28, 30 and 60 (tie)

4) 18, 24, 40 and 50 (tie)

SURVEYING STORE SIZE

How do the new stores built in 2019 compare to earlier builds? Are they roomy or smaller and more manageable?

The most popular store sizes, in square feet, reported in this year’s survey were:

1) 2,500 and 3,500 (tie)

3) 3,000

4) 2,000, 2,700 and 2,800 (tie)

Stores constructed in 2019 that are 2,000 square feet or less account for 14.8% of the total, while 48.1% are between 2,001 and 3,000 square feet.

These figures compare to the 28% of stores measuring 2,000 square feet or less and the 40% covering between 2,001 and 3,000 square feet reported for 2018.

The largest newly constructed vended laundry built in 2019 covers 7,000 square feet, while the smallest measures just 800 square feet, according to the survey results.

The average newly constructed store for 2019 covers 2,990 square feet, which is slightly larger than the 2,948-square-foot average of last year’s survey. Prior averages were 2,824 (2017), 3,132 (2016), 2,639 (2015), 2,696 (2014), 2,663 (2013), 2,754 (2012) and 2,721 (2011).

On average, a newly constructed store sold for $497,864 in 2019 (distributors were asked to exclude the cost of land and building). Prior average sale prices were $460,238 in 2018, $520,045 in 2017, $558,097 in 2016, $452,000 in 2015, $360,394 in 2014, $368,214 in 2013, $386,591 in 2012 and $366,000 in 2011.

To read Part 1, click here, and check back Tuesday for the conclusion: new-store profiles over the years, other business, and the annual forecast